Your receptionist is due to return from maternity leave in two months. She has asked to return on a part-time basis – working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week. She previously worked full- time.
There have been a few changes at your practice since the receptionist commenced maternity leave which mean that you are no longer able to offer her either a full-time position or the days that she wants. If you are really honest, you don’t really want her back at all. Her performance wasn’t great and her sick leave was a problem before she went on leave.
A range of legal issues arise in this scenario. We explain these below.
Firstly, employers should be aware that all employees – both male and female – are entitled to take parental leave in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Managing an employee’s return from maternity leave can be tricky. You should ensure that you understand your obligations as an employer and comply with all legislative requirements in order to avoid an employee bringing an employment claim against you or the practice. Some of the key obligations relevant in this scenario are:
If you are unsure of your obligations in relation to an employee returning from parental leave, visit Avant's website for more information. If you or your practice requires immediate advice, call Avant's Medico-legal Advisory Service on 1800 128 268, 24/7 in emergencies.
Avant’s Practice Medical Indemnity Insurance Policy* provides cover for defending complaints that arise from an employee dispute, including complaints under anti-discrimination or equal opportunity legislation. This includes the legal costs of defending the practice and its employees against allegations and complaints.
If you hold a Practice Medical Indemnity Insurance Policy, you are also eligible to apply for Avant’s Business Insurance.# This flexible insurance allows you to select the right cover for your practice – meaning you only pay for the cover you need.
This cover protects the practice against loss or damage to the practice’s property, caused by unforeseen or unexpected events such as fire, storm, accidental or malicious damage. Avant Business Insurance also offers protection against other liabilities practices face, as well as cover against loss of revenue, income or profit.
This information is a brief summary only. Policy terms, conditions, limits, eligibility criteria and exclusions apply. For further details please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement and Policy Document.
*IMPORTANT: The Practice Medical Indemnity Policy is issued by Avant Insurance Limited, ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765. This policy is available at avant.org.au or by contacting us on 1800 128 268. Practices need to consider other forms of insurance including directors’ and officers’ liability, public and products liability, property and business interruption insurance, and workers compensation.
# IMPORTANT: Avant Insurance Limited ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765 arranges Avant Business Insurance as agent of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850, AFSL 234 708. The information provided here is general advice only. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before deciding to purchase or continuing to hold a policy with us. For full details including the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply, please read and consider the policy wording and PDS, which is available at avant.org.au or by contacting us on 1800 128 268.
By: Sonya Black, Special Counsel – Employment Law, QLD, Avant Law
This article was originally published on avant.org.au on Aug 14, 2017